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Scafell Pike Marathon

16/07/2016

On Sunday 10th July Jacob Tangey and Sue Jeffrey travelled to the North Lakes to take part in the High Terrain Events Scafell Pike Marathon, a 27 mile multi-terrain event taking in a whopping 1700m of ascent, and reaching the summit of England’s highest mountain.

The day began with an early start at Crow Park in Keswick for registration followed by a short amble around to Nichol End marina on the shores of Derwentwater, and the start of the event. With an unpredictable weather forecast of cloud, rain, high winds and low cloud it was a surprise to have a dry and settled start to the day. The first section of the route follows the popular walking path along the edge of the lake towards the village of Grange. From here runners get their first taste of ascent with a short rocky climb skirting around Castle Crag before descending to Seatoller at 11k.

After a short road section to Seathwaite Farm the real climbing began. The mountain section starts with a short steep climb to Styhead Tarn before easing off slightly at the first checkpoint at the Mountain Rescue stretcher box. The race route to the summit veers onto the Corridor Route, a steep traverse with a few scrambles and technical sections before a rough rocky stretch to the summit trig point and shelter. At Styhead Tarn the cloud had descended and visibility dramatically reduced on the Corridor Route. Navigation skills and knowledge of the mountain were key to this event and Jacob and Sue used their knowledge of the mountain to navigate themselves and fellow runners safely to the second checkpoint at the summit, with Jacob reaching the summit in 2hr.27mins and Sue in 3hr.03mins.

The descent proved no easier with visibility remaining poor over a slippery boulder field before dropping to Esk Hause, the third check point.  It was at the point of the race where a number of runners failed to spot the check point altogether in the cloud and mist and had to re-ascend to from Sprinkling Tarn to dib-in. After the tarn the cloud lifted and the welcome sight of Styhead Tarn reappeared. Styhead doubled up as the fourth check point, the last on the mountain section, and then runners made the final descent into the valley bottom to Seathwaite and on to Rosthwaite.

The sting-in-the-tail of this event is the sharp climb from Rosthwaite to Watendlath, a popular walking route in the Borrowdale Valley.  After the tough climb the well made path descends gradually to Ashness Bridge and the final check point of the route. At this stage in the race the sun finally made an appearance and Sue got to enjoy the last section of the race along the shores of Derwentwater in the sunshine before entering Crow Park and the finish line, where walkers and tourist cheered runners in.

A fabulous route and well organised event, but on this occasion minus the views! Jacob finished in a fantastic 17th position in 5hrs. 07mins and Sue was thrilled to finish in 6hr.25mins and 5th female.

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